Advertisement - Continue reading below

Definition of "cataclysm" [cat•a•clysm]

  • A violent upheaval that causes great destruction or brings about a fundamental change. (noun)
  • A violent and sudden change in the earth's crust. (noun)
  • A devastating flood. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "cataclysm" in a sentence
  • "Some people swore the year 2000 would bring technological chaos, or an old-fashioned End of the Word cataclysm."
  • "The much-debated computer worm may have headed off a conflagration that would have rendered the word cataclysm a pale understatement."
  • "We appear to be headed for something where the word cataclysm seems terrifyingly appropriate."